Nestled in an idyllic part of the Scottish Borders, Thirlestane Castle is a magnificent 16th century castle set in a meadow landscape.
Family home to the Duke of Lauderdale, it is one of the oldest and finest castles in Scotland and still remains home to the Maitland family today.
Come and see breath-taking 17th-century Dunsterfield plasterwork ceilings, one of the largest collections of family portraits in Scotland and nurseries full of historic toys.
After touring the magnificent State Rooms, visit our Tea Room for a light lunch or sweet treat.
Woodland and riverside walks are available within the grounds as well as a children's playground.
Sundays to Thursdays from early May to late September.
Castle open 10am-4pm.
Only 35 minutes south of Edinburgh, just off the A68 in the pretty town of Lauder.
Visitors can get the train to Stow then it is a 15-minute taxi journey to the castle.
Border Buses 51 and 52 from Edinburgh and Kelso/Jedburgh stop just outside the castle.
Car park on site
E&J Taxis 01578 722441
Castle and Grounds Entry
Adult - £9.50
Concession - £8.50
Child - £5.00
Family (2+3) - £25
Groups - £8.00
Grounds Only Entry
Adult - £4.00
Child - £2.00
- Guide dogs welcome
- Wheelchair ramps/routes
- Accessible toilets
- Access statement available
- Accessible parking
The friendly and flexible team at Thirlestane Castle prides itself on a warm welcome to group tours and we do our utmost to tailor tours to suit any group and requirements.
The local, experienced and entertaining guides have a wealth of knowledge about the Castle and bring the fascinating history to life.
Throughout its long history dating back over 400 years, Thirlestane Castle has belonged to the Maitland family.
Through military service and their contribution to law and the arts, the Maitlands gained increasing influence and power.
In 1586 John Maitland became Lord Chancellor of Scotland to King James VI, his elder brother had been Secretary to Mary Queen of Scots. John Maitland’s son, also John Maitland, was created 1st Earl of Lauderdale. His son, another John Maitland, the 2nd Earl of Lauderdale, was one of the most important and controversial Scottish figures of the late 17th century.
As a leading royalist, he was a confidant of King Charles II and spent nine years in the Tower of London under sentence of death. After the Restoration, he was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland. As such, he was virtually the uncrowned King of Scotland.
The 14th Earl, Frederick Maitland, was a keen amateur photographer and won medals for his work in the early 20th century. Some of the extensive collection of his photographs is on display at the castle. Visitors can also view a large collection of historic and vintage toys within the castle's nurseries.
Many of these have been kindly loaned by the Pollock Toy Museum in London and include Edwardian, Victorian and even Georgian items.
The BVAC Classic – Festival of motoring will take place at Thirlestane Castle in Lauder on Sunday 2nd June. Described previously as the “The best classic car festival in Scotland” by the Sunday Times. The 2019 event is celebrating the 60th birthday of the Mini with a range of Mini-themed displays alongside 1,400 other vehicles spanning the decades.
Now in its 47th year, visitors can expect something for everyone with much loved veteran to 1990’s cars, motorcycles and commercial, steam, military, agricultural and American classes of vehicle on display. To celebrate The Year of the Mini, there will be a Classic Mini Raffle and even an attempt to break the record for how many people can fit inside one of these classic vehicles. Also celebrating 60th anniversaries are the Jaguar Mk.2, the Triumph Herald and the Ford Capri and there will also be special displays for each of these.
It’s a fabulous family day out with further entertainment, live music and a shopping and food village. The event also supports Sporting Bears who will be raising money for their chosen charity. Sporting Bears Dream Rides take visitors on trip through the Borders countryside in the car of their dreams, simply for a donation to the chosen charity.
The castle will also be open throughout the day along with the Tea Room.
Admission: £10 per adult and under-16s are free. For further information, including details of how to enter a vehicle or have a stall at the event, please visit the BVAC website.
Nestling in the gentle Scottish Borders hills with majestic turrets, Thirlestane Castle is a fairytale setting for weddings.
This hidden gem is one of the oldest & finest inhabited castles in Scotland, and is just 35 minutes south of Edinburgh. Royalty and distinguished guests have been entertained at Thirlestane Castle since the 16th century, and now you can have exclusive use of this castle to celebrate your future with the one you love.
MAGNIFICENT STATE ROOMS
The sumptuously decorated State Drawing Room with its ornate ceilings is perfect for ceremonies or for your wedding meal. Alternatively, surround yourself with 400 years of portraits in the dramatic and elegant State Dining Room.
For smaller weddings, our Panelled Drawing Room in the oldest part of the castle is perfect for an intimate ceremony. Have the castle experience without hiring a large room.
RUSTIC, CONTEMPORARY SPACES
For a different feel, why not get married in our beautiful cobbled courtyard. If you are worried about the weather, we can transform this space into a conservatory with the addition of a transparent marquee. For smaller guest lists our Victorian Kitchen has a more contemporary feel but maintains the vaulted ceiling and authentic Victorian range. If you are looking for something truly unique then our Vaulted Cellar is an atmospheric space for a ceremony or dinner. It’s directly off the Cobbled Courtyard so the two spaces can be combined for a flexible celebration venue.
Overlooking the oldest part of the castle, our Rose Garden is a stunning setting for a marquee reception. You can enjoy a garden party atmosphere on a summer’s afternoon, and later dance the night away under the stars.
TIME TO CELEBRATE
We work with award-winning caterers and the finest suppliers to make sure your day is a success.
Instead of rushing away after a day at the castle, it’s possible to continue your visit to the Scottish Borders by staying within the castle estate.
Enjoy the unique experience of staying in a Scottish castle in one of the luxurious self-catering apartments. Alternatively, pitch your tent or park your caravan at the Thirlestane Castle Caravan Park just a short walk from the castle itself.
SELF CATERING APARTMENTS
With their own private access and exceptional views of the parkland to the front of Thirlestane Castle, the self-catering apartments in the south wing of the castle offer a unique opportunity for visitors to stay in a genuinely historic Scottish castle. The one-bedroom Lauderdale Apartment has a generous king-sized bed and luxurious bathroom. There is also an open-plan living area with full kitchen facilities. The larger Rosette Apartment sleeps four people. There are two double bedrooms, one en-suite, which would suit either two couples or a family of four. The large living area looks out over the Cobbled Courtyard and extensive parkland to the front of the castle. Guests staying in the apartments have the added bonus of a private guided tour of the castle and use of the Courtyard when the castle is closed to visitors.
THIRLESTANE CASTLE CARAVAN PARK
Alternatively, visitors can camp within the castle estate at the Thirlestane Castle Caravan Park. This 4 star park is beautifully situated within the castle estate and by the winding river Leader. The park caters for Holiday Home owners, Tourers and Campers and provides visitors with a spectacular base from which to explore the many attractions of the Scottish Borders. It is within walking distance of the local town of Lauder, where you will find pubs, restaurants and shops. The park has full toilet and shower facilities and a children’s adventure playground.
Thirlestane Castle has a number of different spaces that can be used for a variety of different purposes. From inspiring rooms for meetings, to large expanses of parkland for team-building activities, we have it here. Just 35 minutes south of the ring road, we are also conveniently located for Edinburgh.
The State Dining Room with its portrait lined walls is a dramatic and inspiring space for conferences or meetings. We can provide additional equipment on request and organise catering from our panel of top caterers. For smaller events, you can hire the newly-refurbished Victorian Kitchen.
The castle is surrounded by parkland within a large estate meaning there is scope for a whole range of team-building activities on site. We work with some of the best providers out there and can organise diverse activities such as archery, highland games or chocolate making. For a visual spectacle we can put on a jousting display, organise a bagpiper or give your team a hands-on experience of birds of prey.
For an extra special day out as a reward for staff, why not have an exclusive visit to Thirlestane Castle. For example, we can organise a behind the scenes tour led by a member of the Maitland family, followed by a private dinner in the State Dining Room and then topped off with a relaxed whisky tasting experience in the State Drawing Room.
With its fairy tale turrets and rural backdrop, Thirlestane Castle is a fantastic venue for product launches or awards events. With lighting specialists and venue dressers in our black book of suppliers we can create a dramatic backdrop for your event.
Whatever your event, escape the city and the corporate world to relax in the sumptuous surroundings of Thirlestane Castle in the Scottish Borders.
Thirlestane Castle is an inspiring building set in peaceful surroundings yet is just 35 minutes south of Edinburgh. We work with brilliant suppliers so we can design a perfect corporate day out with you whether it's a meeting, conference, team building exercise or incentive outing.